I am very much concerned as well as disappointed about the teachers' strikes occurring in various regions such as Purbalingga, Bengkulu, Muna, Padang, Semarang and Madiun.
I realize how hard their duty is and how glorious their struggle is in educating our youths while their salaries are low. The government has promised to raise the salaries of civil servants, including teachers, and their back pay was meant to be retroactive as of January 2001. But this has been realized in only a few regions, while others have to wait until when, only heaven knows. I am also disappointed by Presidential Decree No.64/2001, which was issued during the Abdurrahman Wahid administration, without further considering each regions' financial ability to pay.
I call on President Megawati Soekarnoputri to immediately lay down a policy as a solution to the decree issued by her predecessor. Megawati has even said that the most important thing to do to improve the country's quality of education is, in the first place, increase teachers' income. It is now time for Ibu Megawati to make good on her words.
Surakarta, Central Java